In the preface to 'Howard's End' written by E.M Forster there are two curious words that begin the novel, 'Only Connect.' Forster's humanistic views often sought to portray the importance of making strong 'personal connections' in spite of the restrictions that make it hard to really make meaningful contact in contemporary society. Though he wrote in the early 1900's this idea or phrase is extremely relevant today.
These two words offer us a chance to choose to really be in the world not only with people but also with experiences, memories, smells, tastes, conversations, what we see and hear and most importantly with the present moment. We have a choice as to whether we spend the day caught up in our heads worrying about the future and lost in thought or we can bring our selves back continually to the present moment and make deeper, richer and fuller contact and connection. To improve our connections throughout the day it requires the capacity to slow down, the willingness to be present and to engage with any experience or person in a slow and easy embrace.
What are the obstacles to us connecting? Is it my fear of being seen, really seen by another? Is it because I am on the run and hurrying around? Is it because I don't believe that any one really has anything important to offer me? This moment is an opportunity to become more aware of what stops me connecting.
One way to do this is when you notice yourself not enjoying a moment simply stop, breathe and be aware. What is happening right now? Whatever the reason today make a commitment to engage for just a few seconds longer than you normally would have. Gaze a bit longer at the view or observe the people in the park and notice how interesting, how colourful, how rich the textures are. This allows us to feel more alive and more peaceful.
Today my goal is to connect more fully and more slowly with the people places and things that I find in my world. I will choose to see them as a gift today and I will notice and become more aware of how I make contact as I move through this day.